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The fight over flight: what’s the problem with travel?

7:00pm, Sunday 8 February 2009, Please .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) if you would like to attend.

Recent months have seen demonstrations by anti-flying groups opposed to the building of a third runway at Heathrow. After expansion was given the go-ahead on 15 January, further protests have been planned. Meanwhile, the rhetoric against cheap flights has been stepped up, with environmental groups attacking flying as an ‘unnecessary luxury’ that will seriously damage the planet. Despite this, government, industry and some unions have argued that further expansion is an economic necessity. But so far, few have made a case for better transport as a means to travel more freely – surely a good in its own right?

What’s behind the moralisation of flying – is it mere snobbery?
Should addressing climate change take precedence over faster, cheaper, better transport?
Is ‘trains not planes’ a rational solution to the problem?
Why is there so much resistance to development when there is widespread disgruntlement over the state of the UK’s transport infrastructure?


Pete Smith (Director of Tourism, School of Management & Social Sciences, St Mary’s University College)


Bring on the third runway – it’s a gift to the green movement
Andrew Gilligan, Evening Standard, 15 January 2009

A runway for jobs? It’s time aviation’s bluff was called
Simon Jenkins, Guardian, 14 January 2009

Ecotourism: holier-than-thou holidays
Peter Smith, spiked review of books, Issue 4 (August 2007)

Transport innovation: slowing to a standstill
James Woudhuysen, spiked, 31 October 2006

The menace of cheap travel
Mark Khazar, Battles in Print, 1 October 2006

The Social Consequences of Hypermobility
John Adams, RSA lecture, 21 November 2001

George Monbiot,, 29 July 1999

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